Historic Church Lost in Riverside Fire Begins Reconstruction Process

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. (KPTV) – It’s been nearly two years since the Riverside Fire ripped through the town of Dodge, just south of Estacada, and now the heart of the community, its church, is beginning to rebuild.

The Dodge Community Church was one of hundreds of buildings destroyed in the fire. Dodge community member Kathy Boden also lost one of her homes on her property. She is rebuilding what she lost, including her church.

“It was a real struggle for everyone, emotionally, financially, but losing the church – it was a shock,” Boden said.

Boden explained that rebuilding Dodge Community Church is about rebuilding a place where the community can come together and create memories.

“People will be able to hold events here, like the things they had before,” Boden said. “There were people who had weddings here. There was a funeral here. It was a place where people came. »

The new church will be located almost exactly where the old church was when it was built in 1947. The groundbreaking took place on Sunday and the Dodge community returned to celebrate and worship. Tony Skoien is a deacon of Dodge Community Church. He said it was great to see his neighbors come for the groundbreaking.

“We are thrilled to see what the Lord has in mind for us here,” Skoien said.

Skoien said the church’s insurance will cover about $266,000 of the cost of reconstruction and $150,000 is covered by donations. Many of these donations come from other churches in the Pacific Northwest.

“It was really encouraging to see that because that’s when the church shines and comes on its own,” Skoien said.

But he said the congregation still needs to raise about another $300,000 to cover the rest. Regardless of the amount of work that remains to be done, there is hope that doors will open for the Christmas service.

“Even though we lost our building, the building is not the church,” Skoien said. “The people are the church, the building is where we meet.”

“It’s all in God’s hands,” Boden said. “It’s God’s timing and he’s the one who’s going to make it happen.”

Jerry B. Hatch